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Relating to a defense to prosecution for certain offenses involving possession of small amounts of controlled substances, marihuana, dangerous drugs, or abusable volatile chemicals, or possession of drug paraphernalia for defendants seeking assistance for a suspected overdose.
No significant fiscal implication to the State is anticipated.
HB 1694 amends the Texas Controlled Substance Act to establish a defense to prosecution for a jail felony for actors who possess miscellaneous substances, marijuana, and dangerous drugs in the amount less than one gram. This defense to prosecution applies if the actor was the first person to request emergency medical assistance in response to an overdose and made the request during an ongoing medical emergency, remained on the scene until medical assistance arrived, and cooperated with medical assistance and law enforcement or was the victim of a possible overdose. This defense is not available if a peace officer was in the process of arresting the actor or executing a search warrant at the time of the request or the actor is committing another offense. The actor is also ineligible if they were previously convicted or placed on deferred adjudication under the dangerous drugs provision and abusable volatile chemicals, or they were acquitted in a previous proceeding under the Texas Controlled Substance Act.
HB 1694 provides a defense for possession of less than a gram of a controlled substance in limited circumstances. This is done to encourage reports of overdoses that might otherwise go unreported if the person fears the legal consequences of being found in possession of a controlled substance. Texas Action supports HB 1694.